Archives for January 2019
HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NEWS RELEASE: January 24th, 2019
HONOLULU – An infestation of little fire ants (LFA) was reported at a residential neighborhood in Kaneohe and the area was treated today in multi-agency effort involving the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and the Hawaii Ant Lab (HAL). A total of 11 properties covering about two acres were treated this morning, including a 15-meter buffer zone around the infestation area.
On December 13, 2018, a resident on Alokahi St. contacted HDOA to inquire about ants in her home. The resident added that she had traveled to Hawaii Island. On December 19th, staff from HAL retrieved the ant samples which were identified as LFA on December 20th by an HDOA entomologist. On December 21st, HDOA and HAL staff returned to the home and conducted a survey of the exterior of the residence and detected LFA in the patio, carport and along the perimeter of the property. Staff returned on December 24th to survey two surrounding properties which also had LFA.
A larger survey of 12 properties in the area was conducted on January 4th and LFA was found in seven of those properties. On January 9th, another survey of two additional properties was conducted and one was found to have LFA. According to the treatment plan developed by HAL researchers, several types of pesticides and bait formulas are applied on a six-week interval for a total of eight treatments. Monitoring of the area will continue for several years.
In June 2014, an LFA infestation was detected in Mililani Mauka which covered six acres. A similar multi-agency response successfully eradicated the infestation and that neighborhood has been free of LFA since February 2015.
“This coordinated treatment and response plan for this infestation has been proven effective in the past and we appreciate the continued assistance of the different agencies and also the cooperation of the residents,” said Denise Albano, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “This incident also reminds everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspected infestation of little fire ants.”
LFA has been found on Hawaii Island since 1999 and the population is widespread on that island. Since that initial detection, HAL and HDOA have developed a treatment strategy that has helped to prevent the spread of LFA to other islands.
HDOA and partner agencies, including the Invasive Species Committees on Oahu, Kauai, and Maui County and the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) have been asking residents on Oahu, Kauai and Maui County to survey their properties for LFA by using a little peanut butter on a chopstick and leave them in several areas for about one hour. Any ants collected should be put in a sealable plastic bag, placed in the freezer for at least 24 hours and dropped off or mailed to any HDOA office. An informational flyer may be downloaded at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2014/05/LFASurvey.pdf
In addition, the Department of Land and Natural (DLNR) Resources has produced a three-minute video, “How to Test for LFA,” which shows the step-by-step procedure for testing for LFA. The video is available at: https://vimeo.com/97558997
Originally from South America, LFA is considered among the world’s worst invasive species. LFA are tiny ants, measuring 1/16thinch long, are pale orange in color. LFA move slowly, unlike the Tropical Fire Ant, which is established in Hawaii, move quickly, and are much larger with a larger head in proportion to its body. LFA can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets. They can build up very large colonies on the ground, in trees and other vegetation, and buildings and homes and completely overrun a property.
Suspected invasive species should be reported to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE – 643-PEST (7378).
Janelle Saneishi, Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Naio Thrips (Klambothrips myopori)
Do you know where naio plants are located? Help us monitor for thrips by letting us know where the plants are located. You can help even more by ADOPTING-A-NAIO on Oʻahu!
If you participate in ADOPT-A-NAIO, you will help monitor naio plant/s of your choosing. It could be be at your favorite beach park, in the grocery store parking lot, around your school or at your workplace…anywhere! You would simply check up on your plant once a quarter (every three months) and let OISC know how it’s doing. If it had damage, just email us a picture and we’ll see if it has naio thrips and if so, will treat the plant.
Naio thrips are likely native to Australia and have caused widespread damage on the popular landscaping Myoporum plants in southern California and in the San Francisco area. They were first detected on Hawaii Island in March of 2009. Naio thrips attack the native Hawaiian naio tree. These thrips are small sucking insects with feathery wings. They harm the naio by scarring of leaf, flower, and fruit surfaces leading to lethal plant damage. Naio thrips can be found on many Myoporum species, but is especially noticeable on our native naio species (Myoporum sandwicense). The leaf curling and gall formation effects of thrips on naio plants will be noticed before any insects are seen. These thrips are small, less than 1/20th inch long, and are shiny dark brown.
Naio thrips damage includes severe gall-like distortion of the new leaves and terminals. Stunting of terminal growth occurs and leaf curling or folding is common. In Hawaiʻi, this recent pest can potentially have devastating effects on our native naio trees which are an important component of lowland and coastal dry forest and comprise roughly one half of the plant biomass of the māmane-naio forest ecosystem.
Damage to naio plants from thrips on the left. The galling, or balled-up leaf tips, can kill the plant.On Oʻahu:
Myoporum thrips (Klambothrips myopori) AKA “Naio Thrips” were detected on Oʻahu on November 23rd. Since then, multiple agencies and many private citizens came together to check 619 naio (Myoporum sandwicense) plants across Oʻahu. Only 42 plants were positive for myoporum thrips (Klambothrips myopori). Positive detections were found at nine sites in Kalihi, Kapālama, ‘Ālewa Heights, Moanalua, Pearl Harbor, Waikīkī and downtown. Although that is a wide geographic range, it is important to note that sites around these infested plants but within the same watershed have been checked and are clear. These are isolated points within these watersheds, the whole watershed is not infested. Most importantly, significant natural sites such as Kaʻena Point and the Kaiwi shoreline do not show signs of thrips.
Seven sites have already been treated or are in the process of being treated. Mahalo to all the ground and land managers that have cooperated with this effort and who have agreed to part with their naio plants in order to save the wild populations.
Naio thrips, which are probably native to Australia and Tasmania, can be transported to new areas in infested landscaping plants and locally via the wind. This pest was first noticed on the island of Hawaiʻi in March 2009. It appears to be spreading across the Big Island (map). There is still a chance of preventing this pest from establishing throughout Hawaiʻi. They haven’t been detected on Kauaʻi or Maui County. Please report any sightings to 643-PEST or OISC if seen on Oʻahu.
For additional information, visit
- HDOA New Pest Advisory: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/npa09-02-naiothrips.pdf
- Assessing the impacts of an invasive thrips (Klambothrips myopori) infestation on native Myoporum in Hawaii. Cynthia King, Robert Hauff, Leyla Kaufman, and Mark Wright. 2011. http://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/fhm/posters/posters11/WC-DM-10-01Hauff_naiothrips.pdf
- Early Detection and Rapid Response Plans for Myoporum Thrips: